The hub is the centre part of your wheel and the part that does most of the movement and the heavy lifting. That makes it one of the most important things to service.
Rear hubs especially as they are the heart of your bicycle. They can be fairly complex, as they are the part that interacts with the chain, and may also contain a gearing or a braking system or both.
Hubs always contain some form of bearing system so they can spin. And bearing systems, by design, contain lots of inexpensive small parts that are meant to be replaced regularly - to keep you riding with low friction and to avoid having to replace an entire wheel.
If you damage the inner working of the hub, you can render the rest of the wheel unusable. A good way to damage a hub is to let it go too long before pre-emptive maintenance.
To best way to assess whether your hubs need to be overhauled is by taking it apart and looking at it and taking all the overhaul steps anyway (remove, clean, replace as needed, lube, reinstall). There are some external indications of hub work being absolutely necessary on your bike (like a visible wobble near the axle or a slow grind when spinning). Usually though, if its easy to tell, then immediate action has to be taken that was preferably taken much earlier.
All it takes is time and a willingness to do right by your equipment. Nothing makes us happier than a client who sees the value in overhauling their hubs from time to time. It isn't sexy, and sometimes doesn't even result in a drastic difference, but its goood for your wheerls and a wise and conscientious thing to do for your bicycle.
Front hubs - with the exception perhaps of front hubs that generate electricity for lighting - are typically pretty "easy" to service, rear hubs usually less so. Some rear hubs are downright worthy of an entire chapter of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance with parts splayed out all over a clean cloth on the table in careful order as they are cleaned, re-lubed and replaced and a manual that is frequently checked.
The flipside to most tough-to-repair hubs however is that they last a long time and meanwhile do some very magical things (like hold 7 gears inside of a largely sealed shell while also acting as y9our brakes) and a much longer time without need for servicing as compared to all the alternatives.
If you have enough time for YouTube, and the right specialty tools like a vice and cone wrenches, it is something you can do yourself. But most people do tend to trust hub overhauls to an expert. So the best course of action is probably to bring it in and have us advise you. If we don't think your hub needs to be overhauled, we'll say so. And if you are unsure, and have the money, its never a bad idea to go in there and check.
The prices below reflect the complexity of the task at hand and the time it takes. Basic consumable parts like ball bearings and grease are included. Sealed cartridge bearings, if you are lucky enough to have them, are typically extra.
Adjust - This usually means adjusting the jam nut and cone system on the axle so that your wheel turns freely without having any jiggling (what mechanics call "play"). Adjustments are something that can solve a problem in a pinch or simply should be done every once in a while to make sure things are OK. It involves taking the wheel off and
Overhaul - Adjustment is the final step of an overhaul. As you may have guessed, overhauling means taking everything apart and putting it back together again, after cleaning everything and adding new bearings and grease. Its like a new pair of shoes, but better. It is a good idea to do this yearly every few years if you ride regularly. Before you worry too much about the cost, just think about one trip to the gas station... In the end, you are winning regardless.
Dutch rear install - This is a small charge we add when servicing the rear wheels of Dutch bikes specifically, owing the additional time it takes to remove and reinstall the rear wheel (which includes resetting things like racks, fenders, chain and especially the chainguard - all of which make it a little more time consuming if you need to do something to the rear wheel. Not to worry though, having a system that requires a little more effort upstream more than pays for itself downstream in the long run in terms us usability, chain maintenance and... laundry).